-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Children are not born
with a dread of snakes or spiders but learn these fears very
quickly, a new study suggests.
In one experiment from the study, the researchers showed two
videos side by side to children as young as 7 months. One video
showed a snake and the other showed something non-threatening, such
as an elephant. At the same time, the infants heard a recording of
either a happy or fearful voice.
The infants spent more time looking at the snake video when they
heard a fearful voice, the researchers reported, but the children
showed no sign of fear themselves.
In another experiment, 3-year-olds were shown a screen of nine
photographs and asked to select a target item. The children
identified snakes more quickly than flowers and more quickly than
other animals that look similar to snakes, such as frogs and
Children who were afraid of snakes identified snakes just as
quickly as did children who did not have that fear.
"What we're suggesting is that we have these biases to detect things like snakes and spiders really quickly, and to associate them with things that are yucky or bad, like a fearful voice," researcher Vanessa LoBue, of Rutgers University, said in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science. The study is published in the association's journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science.
Earlier research, LoBue said, showed that adults quickly
recognize the difference between scary and not-so-scary creatures.
The new study confirmed that children do the same, but that it's a
learned, not innate, response, she said.
Helpguide.org explains how to
overcome fears and phobias.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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